The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester
What You Need to Know:|
• The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester is a good, solid book.
• From the author of How to Steal a Dog, although this book is for a bit younger reader.
• This book has friendship, mystery, and adventure.
• Although not specified, it seems like the story is set in an "earlier" time.
Barbara O'Connor is a very fine writer. I love the way she writes for children. O'Connor never "dumbs things down", draws out very in-depth characters and doesn't shy away from tougher subjects. These are just many of the reasons I adored How to Steal a Dog and why I very much like this book.
The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester is the story of Owen Jester and his friends Viola, Travis and Stumpy. One night while Owen is falling asleep he hears a mysterious sound as the train rattles through the field behind his house. Owen and his family now live with his grandfather after Owen's dad lost his job at the hardware store and they had to sell their house. While Owen and his friends are trying to build a cage for the bullfrog Owen caught down by the pond, Owen realizes the thud he heard the other night was a crate that had tumbled off the freight train. Upon further inspection, Owen discovers that the crate contains an amazing two person submarine. Now all he has to do is figure out how to get the submarine down to the pond. He enlists the help of Travis and Stumpy, but it isn't until bossy, know-it-all, Viola, inserts herself into their business that they get the sub to the water.
The adventure is exciting. Will they be able to get the sub to the water, even with the help of Viola? The cast of characters are long and well-developed. Grandfather's nurse, Earlene, is a particular favorite. When they do finally get the sub to the pond, will they be able to navigate it under the water? And will they be safe? If they listen to Earlene, they will all drown. When they do successfully launch their maiden voyage, it coincides perfectly with the railroad company's arrival. Having located their lost crate, when Viola and Owen emerge, they are angrily waiting on the dock alongside Owen's equally angry parents.
Readers will root for Owen and they will enjoy the life he leads in his small town in Georgia. This story seems like it is set in a simpler time, when kids could run out of the house with the only parameter being be back before dark. I also like the subplots of Owen capturing the frog and realizing it is cruel and setting it free and the warmth in his relationship with his ailing Grandfather.
2010, 176 pages
Family Life, Adventure, Mystery, Books for Boys
• Are the characters in this book like anyone you know in real life?
• Do you know anyone like Viola?
• Do you know anyone in the same predicament as Owen's family?
• Do you have any ailing grandparents? If so, how do you help them?
• Have you ever solved a mystery like this one?
• Was Earlene really mean or did she just want Owen to be safe?
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